Recruiting Sucks

by | Jan 4, 2017 | Blog, Landscaping

Recruiting sucks – there, I’ve said it. Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s look at the importance of recruiting to your organization. Without recruiting, your organization ceases to exist – no one to sell, no one to run the office, no one to perform the work – unless you are a one person operation, but I imagine you are a little larger than that. Recruiting is key to your organizations sustainability and growth.

Recruiting typically is that secondary responsibility that sits on the back burner until you have to become reactive when you lose someone in a key role. It doesn’t have to be this way – with a process in place and roles and responsibilities defined, the recruiting cycle can be another one of those processes running in your organization.

Think for a moment on what the sales cycle looks like – the recruiting cycle is very similar. You have to find a prospect (lead), go through an interview (presentation), make them an offer (proposal), and have he or she accept (agreement). In the same way you are always selling, use that same mentality in always being a recruiter.

So how do we establish a process? How do we get successful or at least improve in our recruiting? I want to discuss using an 11 step process to improve the process and the quality that you hire.

Step 1: Have a Recruiting Plan Guideline

If we do not plan, how are we going to know where we want to head? This guideline is your pre-flight checklist before you take off on your recruitment trip. This will help establish the who/what/where/when/why/how of the process. It allows us to involve key players in the process right from the beginning.

Step 2: Roles and Responsibilities Development

This position that you are hiring – what is he or she expected to accomplish? This step allows us to give a foundation and set the standard for overall success in recruiting the right person. It helps to describe the right candidate. This tool will also help to develop questions for interviewing so that you are asking the right questions. It will also become a key component in the performance appraisal.

Step 3: Sourcing for Superstars

How do we find candidates? There are numerous options out there such as industry sources, advertising, agencies, walk-ins, online, or other customers to name a few. Do you know what your most valuable source is? It is your current employees. They can help identify potential candidates, other sources, and get their help by creating a warm connection.

Step 4: Conducting the Phone Screen

This is typically conducted by the hiring manager, although it can be delegated if others are involved in the process. Keep it short – no longer than 30 minutes. This is not meant to be a formal interview rather a screening process to establish qualifications. Then you will score and rank the individuals.

Step 5: In-Person Evaluation Process

This is where we meet face to face with the candidate in either a first or second interview. You will review his or her resume and/or application. How does it compare to the specifications of the position? Are there any red flags such as job progression or lack of work? This step allow you to build rapport and further size up the candidate.

Step 6: Checking Business References

We check references to ensure accuracies. Up to 30% of applicants have distorted theirs history during the interview process such as dates of employment, reasons for leaving, or educational credentials. Of course to do this, you will need written consent from the candidate. You would preferably like business references over personal references, as the business references will be able to speak to the candidate’s work history.

Step 7: Social Gathering

The social gathering is an extremely valuable sales and recruiting tool. It enhances your image as an employer. It really should be either lunch or dinner at nice restaurant with the candidate and the candidate’s spouse/significant other. Remember, changing jobs/accepting a new job is a big deal. The people that are important in the candidate’s life should have an opportunity to experience what the candidate is. Remember, as much as you are interviewing the candidate, the candidate is interviewing you and your organization.

Step 8: The Pre-Close

This step allows us to address any questions or concerns that came up from the social gathering. We can discuss any additional information as well. We will want to talk about potential start dates and potential counter offers. Be committed to keeping in touch. Also think about the offer that you are making – is it fair? And would you accept it?

Step 9: Extending the Offer

We are meeting face to face with the candidate handing over the official written offer. Have two copies ready – if the previous step went well, this will just be a formality.

Step 10: On-boarding the Employee

How are you going to integrate this new hire into your organization? You also will want to prep the candidate for any potential counter offers from his or her current employer. You will also want to stay in contact prior to the start date. Work on a program that will allow the new hire to learn but not be overwhelmed. If you are able to develop a program that hits the mark, you will increase productivity, reduce turnover, increase new employee engagement, create respect for the organization, and produce instant pride within the organization.

Step 11: Establish Goals/Game Plan for Success

You will want to continue the onboarding process for three to six months. Your role expectations will be established or reestablished when you set up the performance appraisal cycle. You will need to develop regularly scheduled meetings where you and the employee can have a feedback loop. Eliminate any obstacle that gets in the employee’s way of winning, and ensure the employee is part of his or her own development plan that helps create the buy-in.

With a process in place, it can take a task that is typically tedious to more manageable. Understand that you will adapt the process along the way based upon the position you are hiring. For example, hiring a technician doesn’t require the detailed eleven step process – but it should include elements. Remember that recruiting is very much like sales – while we are out there always selling, we need to always be a recruiter.


About LandOpt

Founded in 2004, LandOpt works with independently-owned landscape contractors across the U.S., helping them increase profitability, cash flow and revenue. The LandOpt system addresses all areas of a green industry business, including sales, operations, human resources and business management. On-site coaching ensures that LandOpt contractors achieve their financial goals. And, because of LandOpt’s whole-business approach, the contractors see improvement in overall productivity. To learn more, visit:



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Ryan Stroup





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